Arkansas Executes First Inmate in 12 Years

Arkansas Executes First Inmate in 12 Years

Arkansas Executes First Inmate in 12 Years

Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, who had set the execution schedule less than two months ago, was frustrated by the legal debate surrounding the issue.

Lee was convicted and sentenced to death for beating Debra Reese to death with a tire iron in 1993.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray had ordered a halt on the drug for executions, but she was overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Three other planned executions were canceled this week because of court decisions.

'I pray this lawful execution brings closure for the Reese family, ' Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a statement.

The State had planned to execute eight inmates over 10 days starting April 17, but four of the men have received stays for various reasons.

The execution took place after several last-minute appeals temporarily postponed the execution, which was initially scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CST.

The U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 vote opened the way for Lee's execution less than an hour before his death warrant would have run out, notes The Associated Press.

The US Catholic J&P network, Catholic Mobilizing tweeted: "Christians like @AsaHutchinson celebrated Easter this week-the resurrection of an innocent man put to death by the State." and "Lee has been executed". Another execution scheduled for Thursday - of Stacey Johnson - was halted by the Arkansas Supreme Court to allow for advanced DNA tests Johnson says would prove he did not murder Carol Heath in 1993. But NBC News reported that, in cases in states like Oklahoma, Alabama, Arizona and OH in recent years, inmates were reportedly still conscious - despite the administration of the drug - as they were put to death, and showed signs of severe pain.

Lawyers for Williams say he weighs 400 pounds and it will be hard to find a vein for lethal injunction, so the drugs are unlikely to work as intended.

Representatives for Fresenius and Hikma Pharmaceuticals — the parent company for West-Ward, which the AP identified in 2015 as the likely maker of Arkansas' midazolam — said they don't know for sure that the state used their products because Arkansas officials won't answer their questions.

McKesson Corp. the company that produces the drug, said in a statement that the state obtained the drug under false pretenses and that it wanted nothing to do with executions. "But in many ways", he says, "it's emotions they've experienced before, since these executions have been going through different legal hurdles for 20 years or so". It's also posing a challenge for the state's attorneys, who have been fighting on multiple fronts.

Arkansas executed convicted murderer Ledell Lee shortly after the US Supreme Court denied emergency motions in his case. Lee was the first inmate put to death in the state since 2005.

"They suggest the state cares more about the killing of prisoners than it does about the integrity of private contracts — another red flag for any business", Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, wrote in a recent blog. At one point in the proceedings before a federal judge last week, Arkansas solicitor general Lee Rudofsky declared: "Enough is enough".

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch ruled on his first case on April 20, which allowed the execution of Ledell Lee and other inmates in Arkansas.

The inmates said the state's drug protocol, which includes the controversial sedative midazolam, puts them at risk of an unnecessarily painful death.

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